971 new affordable homes to be created through the City of Toronto’s 2020 call for Open Door affordable housing program applications

The City of Toronto has released the results of its Open Door 2020 call for applications, which will create 971 new affordable homes.

A City report going to the Planning and Housing Committee next week outlines staff recommendations, which include 15 developments, representing a total of 971 new affordable homes, for approval by City Council. Eleven of the 15 affordable housing developments are proposed by non-profit housing providers, and of these, three are by Indigenous groups. Terms of the program require the homes to be affordable for a minimum period of 40 years, and in many cases the recommended applications will be affordable in perpetuity.

The Open Door program is designed to accelerate the creation of affordable housing by providing financial incentives and contributions from the City, including capital funding, exemptions from fees and property tax, and fast-tracking of planning approvals. The total value of the recommended Open Door program incentives and capital funding resulting from the 2020 call is more than $75 million.

Since 2016, a total of 10,172 affordable rental homes have been approved to receive Open Door program support from the City, and subject to adoption of the report, a total of 11,143 affordable homes will have been approved through the program.

The report also outlines enhancements to the Open Door program, which will be implemented in 2021. These changes are intended to increase the number of affordable homes approved, provide greater support to the non-profit housing sector, and co-ordinate the Open Door program with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) programs so that projects are better able to secure federal financial support.

Key changes proposed for implementation in 2021 include a new streamlined and continuous application process for the incentive package (as opposed to an annual call for applications) and a new target for affordable gross floor area of 30 per cent of the overall development. The City will retain the annual call to allocate grant funding targeting units for non-profits with longer and deeper affordability.

The HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan sets targets for the approval of 40,000 new affordable rental homes and 4,000 new affordable ownership homes by 2030. The homes supported through the Open Door program will help lower-income households, including racialized groups, seniors, and essential workers, who have been disproportionately impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, access safe, secure, affordable housing. These new developments will also help create more inclusive, mixed-income communities in neighbourhoods across the city, as envisioned in the Action Plan. More information about the plan is available: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/community-partners/affordable-housing-partners/housingto-2020-2030-action-plan/

More details on the Open Door program 2020 call for applications and the recommended program updates are available in the staff report: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2021.PH21.4

Quotes:

"We want a city that is open to all – in which people of all different income levels and occupations can afford to live. We are committed to expanding our affordable housing supply and we know that working with partners in the non-profit housing sectors and private developers is a key component to making it happen. I am happy we have also taken a critical look at this excellent program and found ways to make it even more successful in the years ahead.”

- Mayor John Tory

"The City of Toronto is working to deliver affordable housing through multiple initiatives. With the Open Door program, our City is demonstrating that our commitment is strong and enduring as we make affordable housing a reality. We are working with many different partners as we break down barriers and in so doing deliver much needed affordable housing more quickly than ever before."

- Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão (Davenport), Planning and Housing Committee Chair

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